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Pointers along the way #114

Oh, those dry times
- Jacob Ninan

If you have been a serious Christian for a reasonable amount of time you would have come across some of those dry spells, when everything seems to be rather low key - feelings, sense of the presence of God, getting something from the word of God, interest in prayer, Bible reading and fellowship with other Christians, sense of commitment, purpose and boldness, etc. And we have wondered what was happening to us.

The fact is, many times we are unable to understand what the matter is! We think, if only we knew why things are like this we could do something about them. We ask ourselves, "Is God angry with me?", "Have I done anything wrong?", "Have I missed the way somewhere?", "Has God left me on the shelf?", etc. We may thrash around with such questions for some time, and give in to one of them out of despair, even though we have a feeling in our heart, "It can't be!"

The experienced ones among us know all about these, and can instruct others about them. But then when it strikes us unawares we are once again sucked ino the whirlpool.

What can we do in such situations? Of course, we must first of all check to see if we have gone astray in any way and if we need to set some things right. That goes without saying. But after we have dealt with such things and we are still puzzled, what shall we do? Those are the times when we need to hold on to the bare facts of our faith. They are 'bare' because they lack the thrills of bubbly feelings and congenial circumstances. We look at the Lord and His word and conclude that they are true and dependable, and then we choose to hold on. We conclude that "after we have suffered for a little time" the God of all grace will draw near to us again (1Pe.5:10).

It is not that He ever left us and went away. But we felt that way, and it surely looked that way. Perhaps our physical tiredness or sickness made us feel that way. Perhaps the anti-climax following some spiritual mountain top experience made us somewhat exhausted for the time being. Think of how God took care of Elijah when he, after the towering experience of Mount Carmel, suddenly felt as though there was no hope. God led him to a time of physical rest and gave him food and drink! (1Ki.19:4-6).

Do we think we are so spiritual that we don't need rest? Do we imagine that the ordinary laws of life on earth don't apply to us? Do we think that if we are serving the mighty God we can take some liberties without having to face the consequences? God says, "Don't fool yourself! What you sow, that you will reap" (Ga.6:7).

We sometimes forget that we are not angels or supernatural beings who do not need to eat, drink or sleep. We think we can work day and night, fast often, pray long hours, sleep little, and 'burn ourselves out for the Lord' without expecting to experience any burn-out! One day we will have a glorified body, but not yet, brother.